This is an interview that Andy Robertson had with Paul Reiche. Some of the things mentioned are the giant toys and how some of the new toys can light up when placed on top of the portal.
One interesting thing about this interview is the last question where Andy discusses the purpose of the unlockable videos of Skylanders toys and how they are used for advertising. For those who haven’t played Skylanders, there are items called “Soul Gems” hidden throughout the game. When they are found, a skill is unlocked for a specific character and a short video of them is shown. Andy points out that by showing these clips and being able to play them at any time, it can be considered as a form of advertising, encouraging players to collect more toys. Paul mentions that the advertising could point out that Skylanders is a “collectable character game”. As developers, TFB created the game according to Activision’s specifications. I see this as another example of “video game politics”.
I remember watching Pokémon back in my childhood days, there would be ads to buy the video games, cards and movies. I became a card collector like many other kids, sparking the controversy about the series. Some people even went as far as calling Pokémon battles “animal cruelty”. People were shocked to see that a children’s show could push demand for toys and games so easily. Eventually, shows such as Monster Rancher and Digimon would join the competition. However, this is not limited to Japanese shows. It is also being done with other franchises such as Dora the Explorer, Spider-Man, My Little Pony, Ben 10, Toy Story, etc.
Did you know that Paul owns two patents related to Skylanders?
- Video game with representative physical object related content (US 2011/0098092 A1)
- GPS Related video game (US 2011/0028220 A1)
Although I have no legal experience whatsoever, it seems clear that if another franchise wanted to copy Skylanders, they would need Paul’s permission in order to use the toys and portal in the same way.
When the specs for Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U console, it was revealed that the touchscreen controller would have “near field communication”, though this technology is completely different from what the Skylanders portal of power is using.
If Giants is as successful as the first Skylanders, then I can see a Skylanders 3 in the future. What do you think about Paul’s patents and the upcoming Skylander’s sequel?